And it begins

First day of radiation was yesterday. Was in the hospital for around 1.5 hrs because it was the first appointment and I had to lay in this machine while they took more measurements, photos etc. This morning should be much quicker.

Not me

So you’re laying there with your arms up, hands gripping handles and your head in your specific pillow. Breathing…trying not to move. Unlike patient above, I have no top on, but a pillowcase that covers one side for “modesty”. Ha. Every 5 minutes, this thing is sliding off. I can feel it, inch by inch, step by step easing its way to the floor. But I cant get it because I’m in this weird position. Whatever. Meanwhile I lost all remaining modesty long ago when I was trying to breastfeed Phillip in an NYC hospital and the kid next to me from Brooklyn had his whole family waltzing in and out, including pizza delivery. So that boat has sailed long ago.

Then the techs start writing all over me, and Picassos they’re not. This is generally what it looks like and I cant wash them off. I don’t care what you say, Im attractive. No, no, really. I am.

Also not me.

Then after all that, the treatment actually starts. The crazy machine goes around. Resembling Star Trek, its like a weird alien. The treatment feels like nothing, like an X-ray. I have a special cream I have to use daily to prevent a kind of “sunburn”, skin sensitivity. So far so good and am on my way to treatment 2 this morning. This should be a piece of cake and only be about 10 minutes. Only 28 more to go…

Crazy, whirling alien machine

Geaux Saints

This week I made a lot of visits. I visited Anns Place which is a cancer support center in town. They were very nice and have many interesting things like group meetings, reike and even a Mahjong group! I’m definitely going to that! Then I met with Dr. Katy, the integrative medicine doctor. She’s going to try and sort out my diet, and she gave me acupuncture for my back. The next day I booked a massage, which she said was really good to help the acupuncture do its job. Im a genius.

Listening to Dr. Katy, I made myself a giant salad to last a week with chopped broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, edamame, green beans, mushrooms etc. Im determined to eat more veg, but its not easy. Hopefully if I continue to make this, I’ll eat it.

In other news, Phillip George met Keith Richards last night at the bar. He comes in regularly, but Phillip has always missed him. Richards came in with the family and Philip got to make him drinks and was thrilled.

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. Im watching for the commercials and in my HEAD my team is playing….

Tattooed Lady

Today I went for my mapping session for radiology. It was pretty easy, but lots of information at once. Meetings with therapists, Dr and nurses. Then in the machine for images, and they have these formable pillows that they form to your body and will be used every time to get me in position. Also, I got my tattoos. Im about to share with my niece and nephews what a badass I am, because they are BIG tattoo fans.

Tattoo one of three

Now, don’t be jealous! I know they are fancy tattoos. But as tiny as they are, they bled like 3 tiny mfers. Actual treatments start next Wednesday and continue till the end of March. Now that I know the schedule, I can start to plan the Caribbean getaway for me and Sammy. We’ll really need it by then.

Day with Gma

So the latest debacle is that Gma’s helper, Maria, quit. She quit everyone she was working for because her daughter had a baby and she’s going to babysit. Which is all well and good, but Gma didn’t tell me any of this because she “didn’t want to bother me” except now she has laundry galore etc. I found out from Mary, who is the helpers other client. Also learned the Gma was the most difficult person she’s worked for in 20 years. No kidding.

Yesterday I took her to see the eye doctor. First up was filling out the forms, which through her for a loop, see below:

So Dr goes fine, I’m then taken to breakfast to discuss what is now known as the “Maria Situation” Happily today I asked my cleaner if anyone she know can handle Gma. Just so happens one of her girls, who knows Gma, said she’ll help out. Bless her. We’ll see how long this lasts. Meanwhile, at breakfast she gets 2 pancakes and covers them with butter and tons of syrup. She’s been losing a bit of weight, which has come back, and now we know why…how a woman who’s 111 lbs can eat like this, I don’t know. Those pancakes were drenched! But she was happy.

So Alene starts Monday and fingers crossed, we’ll be back in business. Meanwhile, just thinking of alternatives but so far having her in her apt seems to be ok. Taking each day as it comes…

Radiology 101

Hola! I saw the radiologist last Wednesday and got the general plan I go in next Tuesday and get mapped. This is generally what will happen:

My doctor will precisely identify the area on my body where I will receive radiation. Pictures will be taken of the area that needs to be treated. Those images are sent to the radiation planning computer, which will help set up the general treatment fields (the areas that get the radiation).

Once the treatment fields are set, the radiation oncologist will mark the corners of the fields with small tattoos or a special pen (markings are usually no bigger than the head of a pin or a freckle). The marking is a guide to help the technician line up the radiation treatment fields the same way each time you receive treatment.

Most cancer centers recommend that people have tattoo markings for radiation therapy rather than ink markings, because the ink can fade or wash off. While tattoos can be removed after treatment is over, they are also preferred over ink markings made with a pen because are that they permanently mark the area of the original treatment field in case radiation is needed in the future.

After the simulation is done, the dose of radiation I’ll receive is calculated, and my radiation treatment is designed over the next few days. As of now, we are thinking 5 days a week, 6 weeks. Good times being had by one and all.

I will post after first session, to update. Meanwhile, we saw 1917 today and it was a brilliant movie. Go see it if you can.

The Party’s Over

Well, we dropped Miles off at the airport this morning and we were so sad to see him go. It was great having the family together. One of my favorite parts was all the boys friends coming over and sharing stories about their lives now. I feel lucky because they have great friends, that they’ve known since kindergarten. Now I get to see them all grow and begin their adult lives. I can’t imagine not having them around. Plus, the boys spent time together and it was fun to see them hang out and it makes me happy. Its one of a parents goals is to have your kids become friends as well as siblings and I feel they are on that road.

Good news from Dr.L. The pow wow happened with all the oncologists and it was determined that no chemo is called for, thank god. So this Wednesday I go for my first radiation visit and find out how many sessons I’ll need.

Here is the product of the week: Moosh-Moosh 12” – Large Softest Plush Premium Squishy Pillow Series 1. I had a terrible cold after Christmas and I couldn’t get my neck comfortable while sleeping. I ordered this thing and I LOVE IT. It fits everywhere, wherever I need support. I highly recommend. Plus mine looks like a neon bat. Because, why not?

Am happy to get a regular schedule going. Decorations are put away, house is clean and its a fresh start. Hopefully I can breeze through radiation and get this behind me. On a brighter note, after we drooped Milesy this morning we went to a diner we used to go to all the time when we lived in Yonkers called the Raceway Diner. We had a full irish, plus was chatting with the waitress about all the places wed been to in Ireland. By the time we left I was so satisfied, filled with sausages, puddings and conversation. It was a great morning.

The Holiday

Its New Years Eve and the holidays were nice. On Christmas Eve I delivered romano cheese to Barbara and our whole family ended up at theirs to celebrate. It was really lovely. Our kids have known each other since they were tiny and as they’ve grown, it’s been tougher for them to get together. It was wonderful to see them all together and having fun reconnecting. Everyone had a relaxing, fun time and it was a perfect unplanned Christmas Eve.

Next day was Christmas and despite Gma delaying, as par usual, we had a great Christmas. The boys took over making our traditional Timpano, which was delicious. and we relaxed and just enjoyed being together.

Yesterday we saw Dr. L, who said I was healing nicely. He is part of a team of oncologists, including Dr Winer from Harvard who is one of the world’s experts on breast cancer, who meet via Skype every month. He is putting my case forward Wednesday to get a consensus on next steps. The original plan is to heal, radiation and Ibrance for another 6 months, then Letrozole for 10 years. We are still hoping for no traditional chemo, bc my particular cancer will not respond to it. So, we’ll see what happens. When I meet with the radiation dr Ill know exactly how many sessions Ill need.

Meanwhile, Ive caught a rotten cold and am trying to drug myself up like an addict to make it through tonights celebration. Im grateful I get to celebrate. Our friends are all meeting at a local restaurant where we had our celebration last year.

Here we are. Got home around 11 and was exhausted but was so happy to share the New Year with my peeps. Here’s hoping 2020 is healthier and happier!